Experience helps Wisconsin bowler shoot perfect game at USBC Open Championships


    United States

    National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev. (Feb. 17 - June 30, 2007)

    During his bowling career, Paul Bloemer of Grafton, Wis., has found repeated success and satisfaction in team bowling and revels in the camaraderie and teamwork required to triumph as a group.

    But despite being partial to the team atmosphere, the 37-year-old right-hander found individual fulfillment when he rolled a perfect game during singles at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships on Thursday night.

    Bloemer had been close to perfection at the USBC Open Championships twice before and drew on those experiences to stay calm and focused this time at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev.

    "I've been close before, having thrown the first 10 strikes two other times, so this time I told myself to relax and make the best shot possible to finish it off," said Bloemer, a stay-at-home dad who made his 14th Open Championships appearance. "When I got the ninth one, it finally hit me that I was close again. The last two times I threw really good shots and left ring 10s, and this time I didn't throw it as well, but everything fell. It's funny how it works like that sometimes."

    Bloemer sandwiched the 14th perfect game of this year's Open Championships between games of 215 and 198 for a 713 series. He added 634 in team and 552 in doubles for a 1,899 all-events total, and he attributes a lot of his personal success to lessons he learned from friends who had already been to the Open Championships this year.

    "Before traveling to the tournament, I like to watch guys who have bowled well and study how they throw the ball to see if I can emulate it at all," Bloemer said. "I also read what people have written on the Internet message boards, and this year one of the main subjects I talked to other bowlers about was ball surface. It also really helps to come in a little bit later, so there is time to hear these different things."

    And since raising his daughter has become a full-time job for Bloemer, most of his preparation for the Open Championships came from off the lanes. Physically, he stays sharp by competing in one league each year and two weekend tournaments each month. He also works out regularly at his local YMCA on days when his daughter, Sarah, now three years old, is in preschool.

    "This is absolutely my favorite tournament of the year," Bloemer said. "I look forward to it not only for the bowling, but also for the warm weather, the friends, the travel and the chance to see different places. I always come in with the highest expectations and the hope of taking over the top spot on the leaderboard, but the competition here is tremendous, and I have a great respect for the guys who bowl well here."

    Some of Bloemer's other successes include two American Bowling Congress (now USBC)/Brunswick World Team Challenge titles, as well as a share of the Wisconsin State Tournament five-person record total of 3,810 in 2002.

    Idaho bowler almost predicts 300 game at USBC Open Championships

    When Marc Nichol of American Falls, Idaho, bowled his team event at the USBC Open Championships on Thursday, he noticed that his name was spelled wrong on the scoreboard, but didn't think much of it.

    When he returned to the National Bowling Stadium on Friday for doubles and singles and it still was not correct, he mentioned the error to his lane monitor and joked that he wanted it to be right because he was about to shoot 300.

    Although he was indeed just joking, his prediction nearly came true when he started his final game of doubles with 11 consecutive strikes. After pulling the 11th shot inside of his target, the 37-year-old overcompensated on his final delivery. The ball sailed to the right and left the 1-2, leaving him with 298 and two pins shy of the 15th perfect game of this year's event.

    "I've shot 300 before and typically get nervous around the 10th or 11th strike, but almost doing it at the National Bowling Stadium was amazing, and I couldn't keep my legs still after the seventh frame," said Nichol, who made his fourth USBC Open Championships appearance. "I'm ecstatic, though, and I never dreamed I would bowl a game like that here. The conditions really test your abilities, and I love the fact that I did this on such a tough shot."

    Nichol's near-perfect effort came after games of 241 and 236 for a 775 series. He improved more than 200 pins from the 564 he shot in team, thanks in part to a last minute ball change. He added 562 in singles for a 1,901 all-events total.

    Presenting sponsors for the 2007 USBC Open Championships are Eldorado, Silver Legacy and Circus Circus Hotel/Casinos in Reno, Nev. Other participating sponsors are Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, Sands Regency Casino and Hotel, official brackets sponsor and supporting sponsors Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa and Harrah's Casino and Hotel.

    Top 10 division leaders with hometown and pinfalls:


    1, Browning Pontiac (Steve Fehr, George Gohagan III, Ken Jessee, Jon Murph, Ken Abner), Eminence, Ky., 3,358. 2, Forgey Sports Medicine, Vancouver, Wash., 3,308. 3, Red Carpet Lanes, Waukesha, Wis., 3,287. 4, S & B Pro Shop 1, Troy, Mich., 3,280. 5, Smith Barney 1, Madison, Wis., 3,261. 6, Wichita Bowling Supply, Wichita, Kan., 3,259. 7, MoRich Enterprises, Ocala, Fla., 3,249. 8, Rick Starbuck's Pro Shop, Dayton, Ohio, 3,233. 9, Vic Telemarketing 2, Westfield, Mass., 3,218. 10, My Bowling Shop 2, Dallas, 3,212.

    1, Derek Eoff, Greenfield, Wis./Richard Volhard, Rothschild, Wis., 1,467. 2, Ken Duffield, Madison, Wis./Chris Pounders, Sun Prairie, Wis., 1,463. 3, Mike Shady, Fairview, Pa./Marc McDowell, Madison, Wis., 1,437. 4, David Ewald, Macomb, Mich./Nicholas Wissinger, Utica, Mich., 1,434. 5, Alex Cavagnaro, N. Massapequa, N.Y./Mark Hugo, Windsor Locks, Conn., 1,430. 6, Darren Jones, Waldorf, Md./William Blaney III, Indian Head, Md., 1,424. 7, Charles Hall Jr., Elk Grove Village, Ill./Mike Thomka, Wood Dale, Ill., 1,416. 8, Michael Steil, Wheeling, Ill./Craig Brown, Elgin, Ill., 1,411. 9, Brian Hoffman, Mount Horeb, Wis./Jay Heinzelman, Madison, Wis., 1,408. 10, James Augustine, Grand Forks, N.D./Ron Zutz, Warren, Minn., 1,402.

    1, Chip Aki, Nicholasville, Ky., 814. 2, Ken Jessee, Huber Heights, Ohio, 793. 3, Andrew Udahl, Elk Grove, Calif., 792. 4 (tie), Chad Gutzman, Mount Pleasant, Mich., and Robert Daugherty, Dayton, Ohio, 783. 6, Harry Banks Jr., Coal City, Ill., 782. 7, Ronnie Russell, Indianapolis, 780. 8, Justin Smith, Bluffton, S.C., 774. 9, Ted Pritts, Frisco, Texas, 773. 10, Michael Barron, Monroe, Mich., 770.

    1, Ken Abner, Cincinnati, 2,174. 2, David Beres, Waukesha, Wis., 2,164. 3, Ryan Kretchmer, Rochester, N.Y., 2,141. 4, Mike Shady, Fairview, Pa., 2,126. 5, Dede Davidson, Buellton, Calif., 2,118. 6, Mike Miller, Rio Rancho, N.M., 2,114. 7 (tie), Douglas Stone, Troy, Ohio and Robert Wacker, Harker Heights, Texas, 2,107. 9, Ken Duffield, Madison, Wis., 2,106. 10, Robert Spigner, Vernon Hills, Ill., 2,104.

    Team All-Events
    1, Browning Pontiac (Steve Fehr, George Gohagan III, Ken Jessee, Jon Murph, Ken Abner), Eminence, Ky., 10,071. 2, Smith Barney 1, Madison, Wis., 10,040. 3, Tom's Rhinoplasty, Newton, Iowa, 9,764. 4, S & B Pro Shop 2, Troy, Mich., 9,762. 5, Team USA Support 5, Omaha, Neb., 9,755. 6, The BRD House 1, Dayton, Ohio, 9,723. 7, Lakeview Lanes, Fulton, N.Y., 9,676. 8, Vic Telemarketing 2, Westfield, Mass., 9,654. 9, MoRich Enterprises, Ocala, Fla., 9,652. 10, Up Your Average Pro Shop 2, Parker, Colo., 9,629.


    1, Roberts Repair (Dave Schmidt, Jerry Roberts, Rich Bucheit, Rick Rambo, Felix Salinas Jr.), Pontiac, Ill., 2,845. 2, Pfeifer Printing, Champlin, Minn., 2,820. 3, Moeller Plastering, St. George, Utah, 2,747. 4, Winkeljohn Printing, Celina, Ohio, 2,743. 5, Galaxy-Dew's Crew, Kinston, N.C., 2,737. 6, Lake County Rollers 1, Clarissa, Minn., 2,719. 7, Eagle's, Albany, Ore., 2,714. 8, The Insurance Center 1, Valentine, Neb., 2,711. 9, Boone's Bunch, Mission Hills, Calif., 2,710. 10, Sportsman Bowling Club 3, Cerritos, Calif., 2,704.

    1, Larry Harvanko, Champlin, Minn./Brett Pfeifer, Minneapolis, 1,232. 2, Felix Fines/Paul Magaoay Jr., Sacramento, Calif., 1,230. 3, Debbie Hillygus, Dayton, Nev./James Ridgley, Sparks, Nev., 1,194. 4, Michael DiPaolo, Eighty Four, Pa./Donald Hughes, West Newton, Pa., 1,186. 5 (tie), Frank Goff Jr./Issac Vidaurri, Kingsville, Texas, and Gary Noteboom, New Holland, S.D./Eric Noteboom, Valentine, Neb., 1,181. 7, Joe Galloway, Interlachen, Fla./Eddie Dubeck, Palatka, Fla., 1,180. 8, John Bassi/Michael Malgrat, Key West, Fla., 1,174. 9, Jonathan Carter, Seven Springs, N.C./Freddie Marshall, Kinston, N.C., 1,173. 10, Ralph Johnson/Dave Dahl, Ada, Minn., 1,170.

    1, Lenny Boogaard, Osakis, Minn., 673. 2, Matt Klenke, Coldwater, Ohio, 671. 3, Ken Varner, Lexington, N.C., 664. 4, Rand Syverson, Onamia, Minn., 660. 5, Victor Martinez, Plainfield, Ill., 658. 6, Tim Frank, Hastings, Neb., 656. 7, Todd Guidry, Lafayette, La., 653. 8, Don Manhalter, Sterling, Colo., 652. 9, Robert Stephens, San Francisco, 650. 10, Joseph Paussa, Baldwinsville, N.Y., 649.

    1, Larry Harvanko, Champlin, Minn., 1,836. 2, Todd Guidry, Lafayette, La., 1,824. 3, Michael Tieden, Blaine, Minn., 1,809. 4, Van Vasquez, Longmont, Colo., 1,795. 5, Leroy Hayes, Cambridge, Neb., 1,794. 6, Frank Kostik, Ruffs Dale, Pa., 1,789. 7, Lenny Boogaard, Osakis, Minn., 1,779. 8, Anthony Kastle, Wilmington, N.C., 1,776. 9, Tate Ziglar, Lexington, N.C., 1,770. 10 (tie), Arthur Lewis, Oakland, Calif., and Mike Godfrey, Meade, Kan., 1,762.